October 5, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

Complete Canadian News World

$45.6 billion in unemployment benefits diverted during the pandemic in the United States

$45.6 billion in unemployment benefits diverted during the pandemic in the United States

More than $45 billion in unemployment benefits were misused in the United States during the pandemic when those benefits were expanded in the face of mass layoffs, according to a new, rising estimate from the Department of Labor’s watchdog services.

According to a report released Thursday by the US Department of Labor’s inspector general, $45.6 billion in unemployment benefits was fraudulently collected between March 2020 and April 2022.

That’s $30 billion more than the previous estimate published in June. And more than 1,000 people have been charged so far for their involvement in these frauds.

The figures “underscore the scope of this problem,” Inspector General Larry Turner said in a statement, citing “historic levels of fraud and other abusive payments.”

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the US economy in March 2020 and more than 20 million jobs were destroyed in two months.

The federal government opened the floodgates of unemployment benefits, increasing payment amounts and durations and broadening the spectrum of beneficiaries.

“In five months, more than 57 million people registered as unemployed,” the Office of the Inspector General said.

However, this influx of claims has created a bottleneck for fraudsters, as states responsible for paying unemployment benefits are struggling “to cope with a significant increase in the volume of unemployment insurance claims and to ensure that benefits are paid to the right person.” Correct Amount”, it is stated.

Fraudsters have misused these funds by applying for benefits in many states or by taking over the identities of deceased people or prisoners.

According to the report, the ministries “have not taken adequate steps to implement” the recommendations made in the various alerts.

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Officials at the time acknowledged that some programs were risky, but stressed the need to deliver aid quickly.

Unemployment services have been completely overwhelmed by an unprecedented number of registrations due to Covid, highlighting chronic underinvestment.

The images of the men and women waiting in their cars for hours to register have identified relatives. As well as the testimonies of those who waited for weeks for an answer or payment, unable to pay rent or meet their daily expenses.